Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby Boy Z is 3 Months Old!

What a big boy! 3 months old already!

Football Sunday Hanging out with Meme on her last day here!

Great Grandpa John Big open mouth smile for Meme. He is so interested in what daddy is doing! Hanging with his girlfriends :) He's so strong! And such a handsome baby boy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I survived my first week back at work...barely

Well I did it, I successfully went back to work after having a baby. I must say while it was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done, it wasn't quite as bad as I expected. Monday morning went pretty smoothly...BBZ woke up around 6am, I fed him and put him back to bed while I got ready. I woke him up around 7:45, got him dressed, fed him again around 8am and left for work. My mom is staying with us and watching him during the day. I called a couple times and things were going well. Work was actually pretty great. Everyone had nice things to say about how cute BBZ is and how great I look...people are so kind. Many of the new moms asked several times how I was doing, and pumping in the office was really easy. He is having trouble with the bottle, so I stopped by Target on the way home to get some more bottles and some diapers. I hate that my day was stretched even 20 minutes longer...I couldn't wait to get home! I arrived home and it didn't seem like BBZ realized who I was at first. He started to cry and I sat down and fed him. He was really happy after that. The rest of the week went pretty similar, the most difficult part is that he will not easily take a bottle. My mom tried everything, but on Thursday he only took 2 ounces all day! I had a dream Thursday night that people left me all alone somewhere. I was heartbroken and lonely and didn't understand why the people left me there with no explanation and no knowledge if I would see them again. I woke up feeling all of those feelings and decided that was exactly how BBZ felt all week when I left. I tortured myself all day Friday. How could I make it through the whole week and on Friday start feeling so sad? It was so hard to get through Friday. I knew we would get the whole weekend together, so it felt like Friday was creeping by. I got home and held BBZ. He cried and I fed him. I read in one of my back-to-work books that babies will often be happy during the day and cope with the stresses of being away from their nursing mother, to finally let go of all those stressors when they see mommy. I tell myself that is why he cries when he sees me. We went to hang with friends last night and at around 7:45pm, BBZ begins crying. I cannot console him. I try everything, and finally about 40 minutes later he begins to calm down. I ended up using a soothing method my mom said worked for her...can I no longer console my crying baby after just one week? Why does her method work better when the ones I used the other 11 weeks were all that worked for him? All of these questions make me feel like he's telling me this is too hard for him. While it is so much easier to blog about my worries, I feel the need to point out to myself the good parts from the week. BBZ took 4 ounces on Friday, compared to the 2 ounces on Thursday. My mom says he is happy and in great spirits 90% of the day. He has adjusted much better to my being away than my mom expected, which to me shows that he is healthy. I think things will be ok. As a last positive note, BBZ's name came off of the waiting list for the University City Child Center, which means he can start there in January. This was our first choice, but the wait list had us worried that he would have to start somewhere else first and move to U City. The place is incredible. They have a huge facility, have classrooms integrated with kids with disabilities, offer scholarships to low income families and have the diversity of U City that we love. They do both a home visit to see the child in their home environment and a 1/2 day orientation for the child and family. As a parent I am required to spend a certain amount of time in the classroom with BBZ over the year. This place is even better than I imagined. I am really excited for him to start. Maybe he will do better if he is out of the house, where I was with him all day, and in a completely new environment. I hope so!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I love our pediatrician!

So I took BBZ to his 2 month appointment today, and he is healthy as can be! He weighs 13 1/2 pounds and is almost 24 inches long. He's a big boy! He got lots of shots, which scared me, but he did really well and only cried a little bit. She explained each vaccination and why it's necessary. She also explained why she chose to give those vaccines to her own children. She takes her time and acts like BBZ is her only patient. I couldn't be happier. She also always asks how I am doing. I let her know that I am returning to work next week and she said that once I realize that he is really happy to see me at the end of the day, it will get easier. She said that many moms, including herself, worry that their kids won't miss them, and that is often their biggest fear. She is so right. Just this morning I was thinking that if other people are caring for him during the day I might just become another one of those caregivers to him. She assured me that is not true. She also said that it will take me a while to believe that he really misses me and no one can replace me in his life, but once I do, it will get easier. What a great way to frame it! I could tell today that she really loves her job! And she's really good at it!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

T-minus 7 days until I go back to work

This blog doesn't have very good flow and is definately more like free association of my thoughts, but I have lot of things that I really need to get out of my head. Well, just as I knew BBZ would eventually enter the world, I knew I would eventually have to go back to work, and that day is almost here. I'm trying not to think about it, but I admit that thoughts of how he and I will both adjust are consuming me.

I never thought of myself as being a stay-at-home mom. I really, really love my job and have worked hard to get where I am. I underestimated how hard this would be. I still don't like the idea of staying home...I notice that I don't have as many things to talk about in mixed company as I did when I was working, and N and I keep our money separate, so I have been relying on his income for the second 6-weeks of my maternity leave, which my independence is hating! We planned ahead for it, but I like having my own money and spending my own way.

So I said I love my job, well I love my son too. I know many women work and have a family, but I can't help but feel that since I brought him into the world, shouldn't I be the one responsible for him? Should I really pay someone else to do something I am perfectly capable of doing myself? That being said, I am ridiculously bored at home. BBZ is bored too. We go for walks or to the mall (since it's gotten cold) just because he gets so stir crazy. I think he will love daycare and really have so many of his social needs met that I can't do at home. At least I hope so.

I am so torn about this. I also plan to continue to breastfeed, at least until BBZ is 1, maybe longer if we both want to. I have been feeding him on demand since he came home, which means he doesn't have a feeding schedule. It is pretty much every 1-2 hours when awake and every 3 hours at night, besides a 6-hour initial sleep time. Basically, if he acts like he wants to eat I feed him, regardless of the time and when he last ate. This obviously cannot continue when I am gone for 8 hours. How will he cope? Will he need a bottle every hour? Will he even take a bottle? Will he cry the whole time? I know that answers to these questions all come down to the fact that he will adjust eventually and he will be fine. But I can't help but feel like I will be denying him the comfort of breastfeeding so I can be at work. Even though I will continue to breastfeed in the evenings and on weekends.

One thing that makes this even worse is that N and I could afford for me to not work. We live below our means and have only good debt (our house, student loans, and N's car). We do have things we hope to do one day like buy our forever house in a nice neighborhood in U City and have money to give BBZ all that he needs, which we wouldn't be able to do if I don't go back. Basically we could afford it if I wanted to, but I'm not convinced that I do. I've thought about returning part-time, which is something I will continue to consider as I return and see how things go.

The best part of this is that my mom will be here on Saturday to watch BBZ here at home for the first 2 weeks I have to go back. Then I have 2 weeks off for Christmas, and BBZ starts daycare after the new year. So I will have my mom here at home helping BBZ with all the adjustment issues that worry me rather than some stranger. That certainly gives me comfort. I know she will be able to help him figure things out and maybe get on some feeding schedule that will work while he is at daycare. So I have the answers to all of the concerns and I feel like I have the best situation to ease my way into working again...but I am still sad about not spending all day with my little boy anymore.

BBZ just started sleeping in his crib on Friday night. Before that he slept in a bassinet in our bedroom. I knew he would be fine in the crib, but I wasn't ready for him to be that far away from me. It was definately more my issue than his, because he is doing great in the crib. It hasn't upset his sleeping pattern at all. Hopefully my return to work will effect him the same way - not at all. It actually felt sort of good to see him be independent and happy in his own room. After all, at work I am an Independent Living Specialist and help people live independently for a living, it makes sense that I would find the same satisfaction helping my son be independent as I find with the people I work with. Hopefully I will find that same satisfaction when I leave him next week and next year at daycare. I hope, I hope, I hope...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby Boy Z is 2 Months Old!

Two months old already!

What a cutie pie! He loves seeing the world as I do while in his sling.

Chubby little cheeks! He smiled for the first time on 10/31/08 while we were at my work for someone's baby shower. Baby's best friendHe's not so sure about the highchair! Playing on the quilt from Meme.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anrazel - Baby bathtime problem solver

So I was planning on posting a blog or a bulletin or something to get the advice from my mommy friends on how to make BBZ's bathtime experience a happy one. But I am happy to report that I think I have solved the problem! His first bath was pretty bad, but I expected it to be. He cried almost the whole time and I nervously tried to finish as fast as I possibly could to get it over with. I really hoped that he would begin to enjoy bathtime, but his last one 2 nights ago was by far the worst yet. After his first bath I made some changes. I moved his bathtime to the sink in the kitchen so I could have better control over his slippery little body, I kept a large dry washcloth nearby to cover him up as I lifted him from the sink to the towel, I hold his neck the entire time so he doesn't feel like he is going to fall, and still his screaming continued. This is a special scream too, that he reserves just for this apparently traumatic experience. So Saturday night N was at a work thing and I decided to try another bath. I talked sweetly to him the whole time, babbling about how much fun bathing is, and he surprisingly didn't cry at all...until I took him out. And he cried real tears and screamed in ways I didn't know he could. I frantically tried to get lotion on him and get him dressed as fast as I could and swept him over to the couch and nursed him to help comfort him. It was then that I noticed how cold his hands were, and I thought, that's it! He's freezing! It isn't the bath he hates, it's afterwards when he gets so cold. I was already covering him with a cloth and putting him immediately into a towel, but the time it took for me to do the lotion and get his PJs on was just too long. So I came up with a plan. We have a small space heater upstairs, so I brought it downstairs and made a little pallat on the floor with a super soft blanket, his PJs, and turned on the space heater before he got in the tub so it would be nice and warm when we were done. And it worked! He cried for about 4 seconds when I carried him from the kitchen into the dining room in his towel, but as soon as we hit that warm little pallat he was in heaven. It seemed hot to me, but he sure loved it! One of the very best things about mommyhood is learning what BBZ likes. I think of these times as challlenges, and try to use my creativity to find out what willl work best for him. Now I just hope it works next time too!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How can people be so insensitive?

Proudly I admit it, I gained 45 pounds while pregnant with BBZ. Throughout the whole pregnancy I ate healthy, walked almost everyday, and made a conscious effort to only gain what he needed me to. I did eat ice cream and candy, but I never felt that I was over doing it. I even tracked my food to make sure I was eating the right things for the miracle growing inside me. I feel ok with what I gained and am proud to say that I have lost 35 of those 45 pounds and am confident that in time I will be able to fit into all of my old jeans, not just the few pairs that must have been a little bigger that the ones I can't quite get into. So today I went to my old work and visited a very good friend and saw all the people I used to work with. I haven't seen many of them since my wedding or shortly after. Most of them were quite friendly and happy to see me and meet BBZ, but as I was walking through the hallways, 2 people at different occasions felt the need to mention that I have put on weight since I left there. They pretty much told me I got fat after leaving that site. They apparently didn't notice the 6 week old baby that I had with me, or consider that to mention to anyone that they have put on weight, let alone someone who just had a baby, is just plain rude. How does a person think it is ok to tell anyone they have put on weight? I guarantee you that 1. if a person has put on weight, they already know, you don't have to point it out, and 2. a person who has a baby puts on weight, that's what happens during those 9 months while the little person is growing in there. It takes 9 months to put it on and is taking me longer that 6 weeks to lose it... In comparison, I went to my current employer last week to visit and introduce BBZ, and many of the people there told me how great I looked. Even if they were lying, it made me feel good, which is why they said it. This just proves to me one of the reasons why I left that place. I realize how important it is to surround myself with positive people who make me feel good about myself. As much as I want to let it roll off my shoulders and move on, it really bothered me that they said it. Here I am feeling great about my progress, just to have the 10 pounds I'm still carrying be pointed out to me. I hope to turn their incredible rudeness into modivation to work off these last 10 pounds. Jerks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My bittersweet relationship with breastfeeding

There is nothing in the world like having a child. I never knew I could love someone so much. I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed. I never said I was going to try, I said I was going to do it. I even went to a Le Leche League meeting in August to set up a support network in case I had trouble, at the advice of another breastfeeding mom. The first day was rough for both of us. We didn't know what we were doing and he had a hard time latching on. But the next day we had the help of a very good nurse at the hospital, and from then on we were a great team. BBZ is 1 month old now, and I have breastfed him every single day since the day he was born. I breastfeed "on demand", which is exactly how it sounds. Every time he wants to suck, I bring him to the breast. No pacifiers, no bottles, for at least the first 2 weeks. Talk about demanding, I see where they get the name. I was lucky enough that he slept 3-4 hours at night right from the beginning. He eats just about every hour when he is awake, but at night he is now on a very strict 3 hour schedule. He gets up every three hours and is up for about an hour. So that means I get to sleep in 2 hour increments. I would complain, but I know it could be much worse! I think I have figured out the best and worst parts of breastfeeding. The worst part is that I am the only one who can feed him. N has started giving him the occasional bottle, but I have to feed him at night otherwise I get to engorged and sore, so N can only help occasionally when I can pump. Even after N gives him a bottle he still wants to nurse. He acts like he is still hungry, but I think it's the close intimacy that he desires. It's a work in progress...N and BBZ need to develop their feeding relationship just like BBZ and I did. Saying I am overwhelmed is an understatement. Not all the time, but sometimes. One day a few weeks ago I cried all day because he seemed to never get full. I swear I nursed him all day. I was suppossed to go to a LLL meeting that evening, but I was so emotional I didn't want to, but I knew it would be the best place to get the support I needed. I planned to take a short nap before the meeting and ended up sleeping from 6pm-11pm, and so did BBZ. I guess it was a rough day for both of us. The best part of breastfeeding? That I am the only one who can feed him. It is both the worst and the best feeling in the world. To look down and see him getting all of his required nourishment from me is indescribable. He had his 1 month check-up yesterday and he weighs 11lbs! And everything that is going into his little body is coming from me. What an amazing phenomenon! One last thing to say about breastfeeding...I wish it was more accepted in public. I hope to become more comfortable feeding him in public as we get better at it, but I am always anxious when we go out around town because I worry about where I will be able to feed him if I need to. Luckily he has been sleeping the whole time every time we've gone out, so I haven't had to choose between staying in the booth in the restaurant to feed him or going and sitting in a dirty bathroom stall. LLL is all about feeding in public, but I am still a little uncomfortable with it. Hopefully as he and I get better at it I will become more comfortable. It's one of the most natural things in the world...why does it make me so nervous??? I guess it's something I just have to come to terms with.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baby Boy Z is 1 month old!

What a month! I cannot believe he is one month old today!
His first bath Snuggling with mommy Pretty baby boy Hanging out with daddy Gazing at mommy

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Childbirth Story

My childbirth story
Happened on 9/23/08
When I was pregnant I loved hearing others' birth stories and imagining what mine would be like, so maybe some will be interested in this, and some won't. I will say that I plan to tell all the details, so if you have a weak stomach or otherwise don't want to hear those details, you may want to pass. Consider yourself warned.
If I could choose one word to describe my birth experience it would be traumatic. I don't necessarily mean this in a bad way, but I had a hard time sleeping the night after because the experience echoed repeatedly in my mind so much so that it was very difficult to settle down. When I think of all that happened on September 22nd and 23rd, it sometimes still keeps me up at night. Labor started at around 7pm on September 22nd. I didn't know at the time it was labor, but I happened to notice the time when I had a contraction that felt a little stronger than the ones I had been having all day. I had another around 7:45pm, then another around 8:15pm. It was about 10pm when I realized they were coming in a bit of a pattern. I told my husband that I was going to see if I could get some sleep incase this was it (yeah right) so I went upstairs and laid down. Sleep was a joke, so I instead went downstairs and suggested he go to sleep because I was pretty sure we would be heading to the hospital tonight. I started writing down my contractions, which were about 15 minutes apart. At about 11:30pm, they were closer together - about 7-8 minutes apart. I started to get nervous. I figured that if I had to go to the hospital anyway I might as well go. I woke N up and told him I was starting to freak out. He suggested I call the doctor and find out when I should go to the hospital. The doctor on call was nice and suggested I take a shower and try to relax. I sounded like a good idea, and we got off of the phone. She didn't tell me when I should head to the hospital, so N and I figured we would stick to the 5-1-1 rule (contractions are 5 minutes apart, last at least a minute, for at least an hour). I took a shower, which really relaxed me, and drank some Tazo tea, and waited. The contractions were pretty intense and I started to tell myself it would be ok if I get the epidural, which was something I was going to try not to do. At 1:30am, after an hour of 5-1-1, we headed to the hospital.
We got there around 2am and went to the room where they would admit me. I was so worried that I wasn't really in labor and they would send me home. They had me change my clothes and hooked me up to the machine to measure my contractions. I had a couple while I was there, but it felt like they slowed down. I was apparently having small contractions in between the ones I felt that I did't even feel! The nurse checked me and I was already dialated to 5cm. I was really in labor! I insisted on having a Heparin lock instead of an IV so I could walk around the room and not be confined to the bed. She started the line and we walked to the labor and delivery room. The contractions got much more intense, and if you haven't given birth, you cannot understand this kind of pain. It hurts, but not like anything else I have ever felt. Let me say here what an amazing labor coach my husband was. He thought he wouldn't be able to handle it, but he did, magnificently. I was so impressed with his patience and calming effect, I swear I fell in love with him all over again during this experience. I did all over again when I later saw him gaze into his son's eyes for the first time.
The nurse checked me about every hour and at 5:30am I was dialated to 7cm. I had almost decided to have the epidural, but I really couldn't decide. I was more afraid of what was coming than what was happening at the moment. I was also extremely tired. It was like running a marathon after staying up all night. I decided to wait one more hour to see how much I progressed. At 6:30am I was still at 7cm. I opted for the epidural.
Let me say now that whoever invented the epidural was a genious. I was able to feel everything I wanted to and nothing I didn't. I got some sleep and felt ready to have this baby. There are definately bad sides to the epidural though. It really, really slowed things down. My doctor came to see me at around 9:30am and said I would probably have the baby by noon. I didn't. It took my body from 6:30am-1:30pm to dialate from 7cm to 10cm. Finally at 1:30pm, I was ready to push. The nurse and N held my legs as I tried to push. It didn't hurt, and I was very excited to finally meet this little person. The got a mirror and I was able to see his head as I pushed. I pushed for 2 hours and he would not come past my pelvic bone. The nurses told me to take a break around 3:30pm and came back around 4pm. They started to explain that the only part of his head that was coming through was the soft part. He had not turned and the way his head was positioned he could not fit through my pelvis. I started to cry. After all of this they are going to tell me that I need a c-section? That was the one thing I really didn't want. I wanted to feel him come out, I didn't want to have to recover from surgery while trying to bond with my son, this was the worst news I could have heard and I was very upset.
My doctor came into the room at what seemed like the same time and said she WAS going to deliver this baby as naturally as she could because she knew that's what I wanted. She said she planned to do an episiotomy and use forceps to pull him out. This was just as scary of a thought as the surgery, but I trust my doctor and said she should do what she felt she needed to. She asked if the epidural was still working since she was going to cut me to make room for the forceps, and that's when I realized I had only pressed the button once since 6:30am and it was pretty worn off. I wanted it to be because I wanted to feel as much if the birth as possible, but I sure didn't want to feel her cut me! I asked for a local anisthetic before the cut, which she asked someone to go and get. It took a few minutes for them to get it and in the mean time I could feel the energy in the room change. They gave me oxygen and told me to breathe slowly, the room filled with people and everyone was rushing around and doing things. A woman picked up the phone next to us and said they were preparing a forcep birth with variables...what variables??? I didn't understand what was happening and I reached out for N's hand and hoped he would tell me it was alright. My doctor asked me if I was ready and I said yes. I grabbed the hand bars near my legs and pushed...hard. I felt the forceps hit the inside of my left hip and my leg twitched. And then I felt him slip out...and there he was! Baby Boy Z was born at 5:02pm. They placed him on my chest and I gazed at him in a fit of tears and emotion. I couldn't believe he was here, and he was ok. They moved him to the warmer and I heard his amazing cry...a sound I dreamt about for months.
At this time I thought the hard part was over, but I was wrong. I didn't feel the incision when my doctor did the episiotomy, but I did feel the blood drip from the cut. Now was time for the stitches. I couldn't believe how much I felt. I looked down and saw my doctor and the resident I met earlier working quickly to stitch me up, and I felt every single stitch. I couldn't understand why I could feel it and I kept asking why I could. They pushed the epidural button a lot more times thinking it would give me some relief, but it didn't. It wasn't so much that it hurt, but it was extremely uncomfortable. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, they placed BBZ on my chest wrapped in a blanket. There he was, my little boy who I felt inside me for so long. I was in love with him. He felt like a stranger that night as he slept in his bassinet next to me. I couldn't sit up well since my bottom was sore and I couldn't lift him out of his bassinet comfortably. He didn't seem interested in nursing and the nurse wasn't much help. I barely slept as I listened and awoke to every peep he made. I finally asked the nursery to take him so I could get some sleep. I felt guilty about sending him away and punished myself for it until I finally fell asleep.
The next day he came in around 6am and stayed with us all day. I felt an instant connection with him and he no longer felt like a stranger. The nurse came in and helped me learn to nurse him and we did great. I can hardly believe it will be a month tomorrow that all of this happened. This experience has been the most natural, wonderful, scary, and emotional time of my life. My son is here, he's healthy, and I love him more and more every day. It's not always wonderful...I question myself a lot, wonder if he will be ok in the world, if he will be a good person, if I will be able to go back to work and leave him at a day care, and will I ever be able to get drunk again!?
Overall I feel like I have done something truely human and animalistic. As I stare at him now as he sleeps on my belly, my dream is that he will always do what makes him happy and will continue to love me even when it's difficult for him.